Archives For Malcolm Lee

Wolves

I like it.

I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’m not embarrassed to admit it. I’m not sucking up to the organization. I genuinely like what happened for the Wolves in the 2013 NBA Draft. It wasn’t perfect and I get why it’s confusing to some. But I feel like I see a vision here and I think the two main pieces the Wolves added in this draft are going to be major contributors in a positive way. The draft was turned on its head from the get-go when the Cavs selected Anthony Bennett with the first pick.

Nobody saw that coming. Nobody saw Nerlens Noel falling to sixth. Nobody saw Jrue Holiday being traded for Noel just minutes later. Not many thought Ben McLemore might fall to seventh and it seemed weird that the Bobcats would take Cody Zeller without trading down from No. 4. But all of that happened and when Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was taken right before the Wolves were up at No. 9, it seemed like a lock that C.J. McCollum was a lock to run the backcourt with Ricky Rubio. And then it happened. The Wolves selected Trey Burke and the internet went into David Kahn joke convulsions.

Right away, you have to figure this pick was about getting value. It wasn’t about getting value with Burke joining the team, although I think he’s a lock to be a Rookie of the Year favorite with the Utah Jazz; it was about moving Burke and seeing what the Wolves would get in return. With the 14th pick, they took Shabazz Muhammad. With the 21st pick, they took Gorgui Dieng. They sold off the 26th pick for cash and a future second rounder from the Golden State Warriors. Continue Reading…

Brooks Stare

The Minnesota Timberwolves need depth at the wings, 3-point shooting, perimeter defense, and could stand to unload one of their three point guards under contract for $4 million-plus a pop (not Ricky Rubio). And since it’s officially dealing season with the NBA Draft hitting us on Thursday, it’s time for rumors that don’t make any sense to start flying.

Remember MarShon Brooks out of Providence? Back in 2011, I really wanted this guy to be on the Timberwolves. The team had the 20th pick in the draft and following their selection of Derrick Williams at No. 2, it seemed like a real possibility the Wolves could get him at 20. Instead of opting for that route, David Kahn started wheeling and dealing to bring in cash to pay for Kurt Rambis’ existing two years left on his deal after being fired accumulate assets and ended up with… well hell, I can’t even keep track of it two years later. I know the Wolves got a bunch of cash, Brad Miller’s hunting gear, and Malcolm Lee.  Continue Reading…

Its hard to believe that there was ever a time during the 2012-2013 season when Malcolm Lee played basketball for the Timberwolves. Think hard now. This is before Ricky Rubio’s return, before the re-breaking of the shooting hand, before Rick Adelman’s extended leave. These were the days of the shocking 5-2 start and of Josh Howard and Brandon Roy.

Lee’s season was laid low after only 16 games by a right knee condition I have never heard of, in the second wave (or third, depending how you’re counting–at some point the waves all just flow together) of Wolves’ injuries. His loss was little noticed at the time because it was so overshadowed by Kevin Love’s shooting hand fiasco. This, of course, after playing in only 19 games in 2011-2012 because of mensiscus surgery on his other knee. So: two seasons, 35 games, 532 mostly un-memorable minutes. Doesn’t leave us with much to work with does it?

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Now that we’re fully into the third wave of 2012/13 Wolves injuries, Malcolm Lee whose “hyperextended knee” is a relic of the second wave, already seems like a distant memory. But he played for the Wolves this year and had a moderately positive effect on the team’s defense when he was on the floor. He was still a newcomer to the nuances of NBA team-defense, but  his length and athleticism would certainly have been of use against the likes of Greivis Vasquez and Eric Gordon. But anyway he’s not playing any more basketball this season. From the Wolves:

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced that guard Malcolm Lee will undergo two surgeries next week. On Monday, January 14, Lee will undergo a right knee cartilage repair. The surgery will be performed by Dr. Jonathan Glashow at Midtown Surgical Center in New York. On Wednesday, January 16, Lee will undergo surgery on his right hip. The surgery will be performed by Dr. Bryan Kelly at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. Lee is expected to miss the remainder of the 2012-13 NBA season.

So it looks like, in two years of NBA experience, Lee will have missed 113 out of 148 possible games because of injury. Thats a very tough start to a career.

 

First of all, his name is Alonzo Gee and he likes to dunk.

Little known fact: The Timberwolves were in Gee’s first NBA team. After going undrafted in the 2009 NBA Draft, Gee was signed by Minnesota on September 24, 2009, then his contract was put on waivers on October 6. It was a brief run that, sadly, did not contain any dunks.

But back to the matter at hand. No one would call this a pretty win, but it was a game in which the Wolves never trailed, and that’s encouraging. After games in which they’ve wilted against teams both superior and inferior, sometimes coming back and other times never climbing out of that hole, the Wolves hung tough even when Cleveland tied the game at 35-35 with 2:12 left in the second quarter. They went on a run to end the first half and kept the lead stable until about halfway through the fourth quarter when they started to push it out and Cleveland seemed to pack it in. It was a slow game, but that’s the way the Wolves have preferred to play this year; they came in under their season average of 93.2 points per game, which is 25th in the league. Continue Reading…

The NBA 3-point line has been around since the 1979-80 NBA season. Even the rule change was supposed to help usher in a new era of basketball from the 1970s to the 1980s, it wasn’t exactly an accepted practice to start chucking 3-pointers like we see teams doing today. Instead, it was a seldom-used arrow in the quiver for most NBA teams.

Because it wasn’t a widely practiced action in the NBA and used more for shooting games after practice than anything else, we saw some hilariously low 3-point production from NBA teams during the first 13 seasons of the 3-point arc. The 1982-83 Los Angeles Lakers have the lowest 3-point percentage in NBA history. They shot just 10.4% from the 3-point line that season. Sounds absurdly low, right? Well, they only took 96 attempts that season and made 10 of them. They also went on to win the Western Conference Finals because they had Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

From the 79-80 season through the 2011-12 season, there have been 171 teams in NBA history who have shot less than 29% from 3-point range in a season. But the problem with this statistic is the 3-pointer wasn’t really a thing until the 1992-93 season. In the first 13 years of the NBA 3-point line, only three teams (88-89 New York Knicks, 90-91 Denver Nuggets, 91-92 Milwaukee Bucks) took more than 1,000 3-point attempts in an NBA season. That total doubled after the Suns, Hawks, and Rockets all attempted over 1,000 3-pointers in the 92-93 season.

In the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season, only seven teams DIDN’T attempt at least 1,000 3-pointers.

Why this little bit of 3-point history?  Continue Reading…

Adelman

Rick Adelman became a broken record last year. Someone for the Wolves would go down with an injury and he’d start talking about how guys couldn’t feel sorry for themselves and had to step up. They had to make the most of their opportunity to help the team. Ricky Rubio went down with his ACL injury. Kevin Love got a concussion. Nikola Pekovic had bone spurs in his ankle the size of Gibraltar. Pick any of JJ Barea’s 27 injuries from last year.

Guys went down and the Wolves went down with them. Nobody stepped up. Nobody cared. Everybody had the calendar circled for their vacation and not for the playoffs. Once Rubio was gone, the season was lost. Once Love was gone, the season was a joke. Once Pek was gone, it was the same old Wolves again. Adelman begged a set of players without anything close to a guarantee of a future with this organization to show some pride and we only saw it one game, when they finally broke their April losing streak.  Continue Reading…

This was the first real test of the Wolves’ banged up season.

Yes, the Brooklyn game was fun and the Pacers were a really good measuring stick for whether or not this team could execute against one of the better defenses in the league. Not nobody know defense like the Bulls know defense. There are defensive systems and units in the NBA that can bully you and take away key components of the game for your offense. And then there’s the Chicago Bulls defense.

You have a slight chance against the Bulls, offensively. They’re going to give you jumpers, and some of those will be open. But like a pack of wild dogs in a Snausage factory, they’re going to be swarming you. They contest nearly everything and any time you get an open look against them, you have to make them pay. If you don’t, you’re wasting a modicum of good scoring opportunities. The way they pressure you is impressive.  Continue Reading…

Malcolm Lee’s NBA career began pretty humbly. Before the season even began, Lee had torn his meniscus and gone under the knife. He was an injured rookie point guard with three guys ahead of him on the depth chart, one of them a Finals hero, another a boy genius. But things happen strangely in a season as breakneck as this one. Thanks to the Wolves’ plague of injuries, Lee went from wearing a suit, to playing in Sioux Falls (where I guess even the basketball players wear camo), to sitting on the big club’s bench, to logging serious minutes in a matter of weeks.

When he did finally find himself on the court, he looked every bit the overwhelmed rookie. Running an NBA team is hard; Lee was not quite up to the task, not quite prepared for the speed and complexity of the pro game. His ballhandling looked a little shaky; he didn’t see the floor particularly well; in his decision making, he often seemed a step behind the action. When he was on the floor, the Wolves’ execution was noticeably less crisp, their offense noticeably more stagnant. Lee turned the ball over on 20.9% of his possessions, and the Wolves’ offense was 5.9 points per 100 possessions better when he was on the bench.

Luckily for him, Lee was drafted mostly for his defensive skills and in this realm, things were a bit more encouraging. Like most rookie point guards, Lee was a bit lost in the weeds when it came to defending the pick-and-roll–his low point in this regard was getting repeatedly shredded by Jonny Flynn in Houston. But he showed quickness, energy and, most importantly, desire on the defensive end (although as the Wolves careened toward their catastrophic end, these latter two qualities seemed to wane a bit).

Nevertheless, life is tough for a young point guard trying to make his way as a defensive specialist.  Possessing neither the instincts nor the length of, say, Ricky Rubio, Lee will have to become a productive defender the hard way: through many minute and many repetitions. And for a player with so many offensive shortcomings, those minutes may be hard to come by.

The Portland Trail Blazers have experienced a remarkably tumultuous season so far. They began the year setting fire to the league. They were humming on offense, beating really good teams, doing a fair impression of a serious contender. Then everything came apart. By the trade deadline, the coach had been fired and half the team had been traded away.  This looked for all the world like a team entering shutdown mode, playing for cap room and lottery positioning.

Except, strangely, they haven’t really been much worse than they were before their grand implosion. Nevertheless, I had somehow conceived of this as a winnable game for the Wolves, as if a formerly good team playing out the string was somehow more vulnerable than a formerly good team playing without four of their top six players. But I was wrong about that.

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